Hunting Season’s Here! Get Excited, but Stay in Business

These tips help you maximize your time in the woods and at the shop.
Photo Credit: Steve Davis

Author: Cassie Scott

Most archery-shop owners aren’t in business to get rich. They’re more interested in job satisfaction and making a difference. They love helping people get outdoors to enjoy archery and bowhunting, which means creating memories and living hunting’s storied traditions.

Sounds like you, right? That’s what makes the archery and bowhunting industry so unique. You welcome, empower and inspire newcomers to hit the woods to hunt some of nature’s most majestic creatures. You help link bowhunting’s past and future. But to ensure that future you must help customers practice, improve and maintain their gear.

With hunting season upon us, it’s your time to shine. But what about your precious time in the woods? These tips can help you make the most of your time behind the counter and afield.

Create a Schedule

Look at your business schedule and determine how much time you can spend away from your shop. Then, create a schedule that accommodates your busy season and your hunting season. If you’re the only person in the shop, try to identify one or two mornings each week when you can close the shop and hunt. Try to pinpoint low-traffic times on weekdays, and avoid closing on weekends and weekday evenings.

Post your seasonal hours on your website, storefront and social-media accounts to notify your customers. After setting a schedule and posting your hours, abide by them. Nothing is more frustrating to customers than showing up at a store to find a sign that reads, “Closed for Hunting.” Customers hate surprises and might take their business elsewhere. By following your own rules and business hours, you tell customers you care about their business and want to know when you’re available.

Focus on your work-related tasks when you’re at work, and concentrate on the noises you hear and arrowing a deer when you’re afield. Photo Credit: iStock

Maximize Your Time

Whether you’re at work or in the woods, make the most of your time. Focus on work-related tasks when working, and concentrate on the woods and your quarry when afield.

Don’t pull out your smartphone and dabble with your point-of-sales software while waiting on your treestand. Relax and enjoy your hunt. If you’re focused elsewhere, the distraction might cost you a deer or elk. Plus, if you’re worrying about work while in the woods, you might not feel rejuvenated when returning to work.

And vice versa. If you daydream about bowhunting while working, you risk mistakes and decreased productivity. Stay alert and focused on the task at hand. If stepping away for a few hours will hurt your business, maybe it’s time to hire help.

Hiring Help

The busy season at archery shops can be hectic and stressful, especially if you can’t find time to escape. If you’re often distracted, or brisk sales and steady service work make you fall behind on work orders and administrative tasks, hire help after determining whether you need full-time or seasonal employees. Contact the ATA for help navigating the hiring process and finding quality applicants. The ATA’s Retail Growth Initiative program provides customizable job descriptions, interviewing advice, and tips for advertising the job. That ATA can save you time and energy, and help ensure you hire the right candidate to balance your personal and professional life year-round.

A mentoring endeavor like this creates a lifelong customer and puts your business in a favorable light. Photo Credit: ATA

Mentor a Beginner

One great way to share your bowhunting passion is to mentor newcomers. Mix business and pleasure by offering to take new customers bowhunting after helping them buy gear at your shop. Mentoring endeavors can create lifelong customers, and put your business in a favorable light. Plus, if your mentees enjoy the experience, they’ll share the adventure with others, and encourage them to visit your shop to learn more.

If you feel more ambitious, create a small mentoring program. You might persuade nonhunters or recreational shooters to try something new, which  further boosts your business and time afield by setting your business apart from competitors.

Final Thoughts

Tips like these can give you the best of both worlds. By planning carefully, you’ll celebrate the busy season, participate in the hunting season, and never forget why you started your archery business.

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